Intergraph Focuses on Your Safety

By Joe Francica

Editor's Note: Intergraph's president of the Security, Government and Infrastructure division, Ben Eazzetta, discussed the company's direction with Directions Magazine's editor-in-chief, Joe Francica. The interview took place on August 28th, just four days before the announcement was made that there is an agreement to sell the company to a group of private investors, pending investor approval. Eazzetta's comments are strictly related to the company's sales and marketing efforts. Given the nature of the acquisition, which is expected to close sometime in the fourth quarter of this year, Intergraph does not anticipate changing its marketing objectives and the company has stated that there will be no changes in management at this time.

"These are your families that are protected by this system, too," says Ben Eazzetta, president of Intergraph's Security, Government and Infrastructure (SG&I) division, when speaking to his development staff about the technology they create. Eazzetta's goal is to instill a sense of responsibility when producing superior software. He is trying to make sure that his team understands that the "lives on the line" when this software is used may be their own or those of their families.

Intergraph is making a concerted effort to focus its business on the hot sectors of public safety and security. Ever since its mapping division underwent reorganization sixteen months ago, the SG&I division has tried to attack the demand for geospatial technology within those government agencies that need protection for their critical infrastructure. Eazzetta sees this global security market reaching from $13 billion today to $20 billion in the next five to seven years. "Many requirements from government are on emergency response and to see a clear picture of what is going on," says Eazzetta.

The public safety and security focus applies to product development, as well. GeoMedia, Intergraph's flagship geospatial software solution, is now embedded with other toolsets offered by the company to satisfy specific customer demands. "GeoMedia has ‘OEM-ed' itself to other products," says Eazzetta, referring to new capabilities such as the Geospatial Monitor, whereby GeoMedia will be part of a solution to display and track multiple elements by fusing geospatial and image environments. With this approach, Intergraph wants to develop incident command systems that tie into outage management solutions, such as InService, and other technologies, like CCTV which gives field commanders various visualization options.

With a long history of product development in the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) market, Intergraph is now looking to offer a more complete suite of applications for the broader public safety market. I/Incident Analysis is a solution in which GeoMedia is integrated with the CAD system and provides the user with crime statistics and thematic mapping capabilities. Other examples of product integration include: I/Sensor (a tool to integrate with weapon-of-mass-destruction, chemical and other location-aware sensor technology); I/Sight (a tool which interfaces to third party digital video recorders or CCTVs); and I/Alarm Plus (a tool that provides a two-way interface between the CAD system and intrusion detection hardware from various companies). A new product, I/Simulator, is a gaming tool for the public safety and security sector for incident simulation.

Intergraph's strong customer base within the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Department of Defense is allowing the company to capitalize on the existing emphasis on geospatial intelligence gathering and dissemination. Matrix security, the ability to tag various offensive or defensive operations with a geospatial marker, is an area where Intergraph feels that it can leverage GeoMedia's interoperability framework. (Readers can find out more information on matrix security in an article published by Directions Magazine and written by Kevin Coleman.) Eazzetta also foresees an explosion in the demand for digital imagery over the next 10 years. "Image management will be just like document management was…everybody will have it," said Eazzetta.

While safety and security are the hot markets, Eazzetta said he is not neglecting the company's other lines of business in government, transportation, utilities, and high-end photogrammetry systems. Many of these businesses seem to eventually converge on critical infrastructure anyway, says Eazzetta, which just emphasizes the need to address the integration imperative with geospatial technology. Eazzetta says these lines of business are not growing as fast, but provide a balance with the other markets that are growing more rapidly.

"The value is going to be in vertical applications; and a portion of GIS capability will be commoditized," says Eazzetta. "Our approach will allow Intergraph to get deeper into the problems, and in ten years from now, Intergraph and ESRI may not be competitors anymore."

Published Friday, September 8th, 2006

Written by Joe Francica

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